Library of Congress

Original New York City Housing Authority posters pitch the projects as the 'solution to infant mortality'

When Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia established the New York City Housing Authority in 1934, it was one of the first municipal housing authorites in the United States. The new agency was soon tasked with spending New Deal funds to clear out slums and build government-operated apartments.

With public housing still a new concept in America, it was important to promote it to those who could qualify. NYCHA commissioned artists to design posters that promoted slum clearance and the value of newly constructed housing. The posters consistently use an aesthetic that reflected the architecture of the projects, with modernist typefaces and geometrically based illustrations. Like much of 1930s modernism, there's a sense of confidence in the design, showing the failures of the past and present while presenting the viewer a better, purer future ahead.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, here's a look at some of NYCHA's posters from the era (we highly recommend clicking the "full screen" option below for the best experience):

 

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. an aerial photo of urban traffic at night
    Transportation

    The Surprisingly High-Stakes Fight Over a Traffic-Taming ‘Digital Twin’

    Why are some mobility experts spooked by this plan to develop a data standard that would allow cities to build a real-time traffic control system?

  2. a photo of the First Pasadena State Bank building, designed by Texas modernist architects MacKie and Kamrath. It will be demolished on July 21.
    Design

    The Lonely Death of a South Texas Skyscraper

    The First Pasadena State Bank, a 12-story modernist tower inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, has dominated this small town near Houston since 1962.

  3. A photo of anti-gentrification graffiti in Washington, D.C.
    Equity

    The Hidden Winners in Neighborhood Gentrification

    A new study claims the effects of neighborhood change on original lower-income residents are largely positive, despite fears of spiking rents and displacement.

  4. SEPTA trains in Philadelphia
    Transportation

    Startups Are Abandoning Suburbs for Cities With Good Transit

    A new study finds that new business startups are choosing cities with good public transportation options over the traditional suburban locations.

  5. A NASA rendering of a moon base with lunar rover from 1986.
    Life

    We Were Promised Moon Cities

    It’s been 50 years since Apollo 11 put humans on the surface of the moon. Why didn’t we stay and build a more permanent lunar base? Lots of reasons.

×